Review by Logan
Decisions have consequences. That’s often the most overlooked aspect of real-life when it comes to works of fiction, whether in literature or on screen. We tend to see characters get away with keeping secrets, committing sin, and doing various other things that ought to land them in a heap of trouble, and yet never seem to. But as Matt Murdock discovers in ‘Nelson V. Murdock,’ his decisions do indeed have consequences that are quite unpleasant to bear.
At the end of the last episode, Foggy discovered Matt lying half-dead in his trashed apartment, which still hasn’t been cleaned up since his extended fight with Stick a couple of episodes ago. He had stumbled in still in his Daredevil outfit, leaving no room for Matt to lie his way out of a confrontation. Suddenly, Foggy is faced with the fact that his best friend is not the helpless blind guy he always thought he was, leaving the question of whether or not they had ever truly been friends.
It’s not that the episode doesn’t take time to consider, once again, the morality of Matt’s vigilantism. It does. Foggy returns Matt’s own lectures against him, reminding him that they are lawyers and supposed to follow the law instead of beating people to a pulp. But there’s also a less obvious tone of morality that’s considered here, whether it was right for Matt to keep this secret from his best friend. On the one hand it seems inconsiderate, but not exactly wrong, for him to not tell his friend that, you know, radioactive waste gave his eyes superpowers. I might be a little hesitant to divulge that too.
But deception isn’t just about willfully telling false information. What angers Foggy even more is the hypocrisy of the thing. Matt didn’t just neglect to tell Foggy about his powers, he went on pretending to be just as blind as any other blind guy, and preached about the necessity of due process through the law while dressing up as a vigilante and attacking child abusers at night. He was living a double life, and deceiving his best friend just as much as he was deceiving anyone else. And one may well ask, if what Matt does is actually good, why does he need to keep it a secret?
There’s a new side to the ongoing debate on Daredevil’s morality that’s introduced here. Instead of just pondering whether he should be beating up criminals, the question is now asked whether he should be hiding it–or rather, whether he should be a lawyer hiding the fact that he beats up criminals. Is this hypocrisy? And even more troubling, is his admission that “I don’t want to stop” evidence that this isn’t actually about protecting anyone, but is rather about Murdock unleashing his anger?
In truth, it’s probably not as simple as that. The man who acts to protect the innocent is also angered by the abuse of them. So to say with certainty which of those two things – compassion or anger – fuels his actions is almost an impossible question to answer. But it does bring a new aspect of morality into the discussion that we don’t often think about. That is, it is not only the actions themselves that must be judged, but also the motivations and intentions behind them. Defending the innocent is right and proper, but outbursts of wrath are not.
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” – Matthew 15:18-19